We’ve known that Peter Jackson was splitting The Hobbit into two movies, with characters from the Lord of the Rings trilogy appearing in the film.  Today, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema have announced the movie titles and release dates.

First up will be The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, that will be released on December 14, 2012.  The second film will be called The Hobbit: There and Back Again, and is currently scheduled for a December 13, 2013 release.

Take the jump for the complete press release.

Press Release

New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM have announced the titles and release dates for filmmaker Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit. The first film, titled “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” will be released on December 14, 2012. The second film, titled “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for release the following year, on December 13, 2013.

Both films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” The adventure of “The Hobbit” follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Under Jackson’s direction, both movies are being shot consecutively in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Filming is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman, who just won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the BBC series “Sherlock,” takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

The screenplays for “The Hobbit” films are by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham. The executive producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer.

“The Hobbit” films are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

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  1. May 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm — Reply

    >>consecutively in digital 3D using …
    Nuff said.

  2. J_Michael_T
    May 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm — Reply

    Somebody please tell me why… why the 3D? It sucks. It obscures details and the action scenes are filmed so dark you cant tell what’s happening (see THOR). Ok, I know they can charge extra $$ and studios are hurting… but I have sworn off 3D for one and hope more people do!

    Rant over: I am looking forward to Peter Jackson’s work. Hope it doesn’t go down the King Kong route.

  3. Brian D
    May 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm — Reply

    well, considering they’re also shooting The Hobbit movies at 48fps, instead of the standard 24 for all films. It will finally cut down on the motion blur that’s been plaguing movies for a long time. That will make how 3D looks much cleaner. I think this might be the first movie I goto for the IMAX 3D experience after watching almost a dozen movies in 3D.

    I just gotta remember to empty my bladder completely before sitting 3 hours for the movie. heh.

  4. @lantis
    May 31, 2011 at 2:01 am — Reply

    They shouldn’t be waiting a full year between releases if they’re filming consecutively. They should release the first one for the fall/winter and the second one as a summer blockbuster.

    There is still no good reason this had to be two movies in the first place since The Hobbit is smaller and any of the individual LotR books. I think the thing that made the last Harry Potter movie terrible was the fact it felt like it was incomplete and poorly paced because they were splitting it into two movies. I hope these movies don’t feel the same.

    • MarkW
      May 31, 2011 at 7:57 am — Reply

      It’s tradition. LotR movies come out in December.

      And based on what happened with the last set, which were all filmed at the same time, they won’t have the 2nd movie finished when the first one is released. The schedule back then was to work on each movie as long as the possibly could before its release, spend months doing press, and then rushing back to finish post-production and reshoots for the next release.

      And sure the book the Hobbit is smaller, but there’s a lot in the book that’s not really fleshed out – such as the Battle of Five Armies which in the book largely happens off panel. Based on what they did with Helms Deep, I’m sure that The Clouds Burst chapter alone will take up a huge chunk of the 2nd movie.

      • @lantis
        May 31, 2011 at 7:03 pm — Reply

        Sounds like a poor delegation method, but considering all the initial problems The Hobbit had getting off the ground I can accept whatever penny pinching methods they’re going to utilize to get the movie made.

        The battles are a fair point for why they need to make this movie so long. I am particularly interested in the scene with the dwarves captured by the trolls. It is probably a testament to the fact The Hobbit is a better written book that there are so few parts that can feasibly be cut out.

  5. Oldcomicfan
    May 31, 2011 at 7:37 am — Reply

    I’m not worried. I used to think that “Lord of the Rings” was unfilmable, and Jackson did a wonderful job on those movies. And, so far, Jackson hasn’t done a “George Lucas” on us and started believing in his own press release and trashing up his films with the middle earth equivalent of Ewoks and Jar Jars. I WAS worried when Mr. Del Toro was going to direct the hobbit films. His vision of fantasy doesn’t match Jackson’s – early interviews with Del Toro, where he talking about wanting to do something different with Smaug, something like a flying axe instead of a dragon – I was afraid that we were going to get elves with eyeballs on their fingers or something. With Jackson we know that the world of The Hobbit will match the LOTR films.

  6. Dboy Mugg
    May 31, 2011 at 9:25 pm — Reply

    As long as “Peter Jackson” and “direction” continues to be mentioned in the same paragraph with “The Hobbit”…I’m in.

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